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"To Print or Not to Print"

“To Print or Not to Print: Quandary of a Modern Marketing Manager”   By Usha Datla, AlphaGraphics at Rancho Cordova, CA (   If you happen to stumble into my home after dinner, it will be awe inspiring sight to see all the four members of my household at “work”. A usual scene is something like me and my husband working on our computers and my four year old playing on his iPad and my daughter on her computer. It is sad but the glut of media devices that are available these days has changed the definition of “pass time”. During one of those revealing moments, I realized how plethora of these kinds of devices has also changed the landscape of marketing. So are e-devices the new norm of reaching out to people? Whatever might have happened to the good old paper? Somewhere in a Chinese grave a soul must be turning restlessly at the thought of obsolescence of paper! There is no question in my mind that the tides are shifting and the new and emerging trends are not to be ignored.   I am in the business of providing multi-channel marketing services. Time to time, I wonder if the end of print media is imminent. But the trends on the ground for me aren’t indicative of such an end. Significant chunk of my customer base still spend a great deal on print. To test this hypothesis, I started researching into what may be the underlying reason for this persistent adherence to print media. After some digging, I found a recent Nielsen’s survey that said that there is an increasing trend in letter press brochures and customized printing in general. The underlying reason is that no other media, barring television, can actually get an extended moment of your attention than a catchy and colorful advertisement on a piece of paper. Think of a moment when you last received a letter from an old friend. It certainly evokes much more of an emotion than an email. It is not to say that emails are bad. They certainly have their place. But it only means that an email has a connotation of casualness and a momentary connection rather than a personal letter written on a piece of paper which resonates somewhere deep within. In this world of increasing attention grabbers, thanks to our “generation connected”, it is becoming increasingly hard to find ways for a true connection. So that must be the reason for the rejuvenation of an old style marketing channel.   So as a small business owner or a marketing communications person, should you bet all your marketing dollars into this new found trend? Certainly not! I think the answer still lies in understanding your customer base. There is no magical formula to plug-in and figure out how to spread your dollars across SMS marketing, search engine optimization, social media, e-marketing, and print. You just have to experiment yourself to figure out how much weight to give to each of these channels. If the need is to make a lasting impression, print remains the best option. But if the goal is to reach a larger base and only needs a moment of attention, other e-channels are the most compelling. So as a marketing budget owner, you should pick a marketing partner that provides you with the most options and has the capabilities to provide an integrated approach. Perhaps there isn’t such a thing as “new normal” in this business! It is an ever changing world where one needs to learn and adjust to the new trends. Don’t be complacent with what worked in the past. Experiment a little!   I am often asked one question: What about all those trees that are being cut to make the paper? No doubt we need to do our bit to preserve the nature and prevent any possible global warming. There are a lot of choices here. One is to find a shop that is “green” certified (e.g., FSC Certification…) and use paper from sustainable forest resources. Many paper packages mention the percentage of Post Consumer Waste (PCW). Ask the team at the shop on how they dispose off the paper scraps. You might want to consider the one that recycles all their paper scraps and the containers in which the paper comes from the vendors.   Life is complicated and we all have enough stresses to deal with in our every day life including the pressure to save money and especially on Marketing if you are a small business owner that’s just getting started. Based on my own experience, it’s always wise to have a budget for Marketing and Advertising in your initial project plan for couple of years. Every business needs visibility and has to find ways to reach out to its customer unless you are a business that doesn’t require one. If your business falls into that category you are one of very few out there.   Before I leave you with a thought to revisit your marketing or advertising plans and ponder on what needs to be done, one more quick note from the heart. Think about giving back to your community in some form or the other. A small gesture of kindness towards anyone or any non-profit organization goes a long way. Chances are few of those that see your business as a sponsor, will stop by and thank you and that in itself is gratifying. Who knows, they might even go out of their way to mention your name to others. Trust me, no amount of marketing can beat the word of mouth!   About the Author Usha Datla is the owner of AlphaGraphics in Rancho Cordova, CA. AlphaGraphics at Rancho Cordova ( is a provider of integrated marketing services that includes design, print, mail,SMS, and other emarketing services. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems from Arizona State University, she started her career as a computer programmer and grew up to hold senior IT management positions at reputed fortune 500 companies. To pursue her creative interests, she started AlphaGraphics at Rancho Cordova to serve the Sacramento and surrounding areas. Besides running her business, she spends her time with several local non-profit organizations including as a board of director for City of Fair Oak’s Chamber of Commerce and as an ambassador for the Rancho Cordova’s chamber of commerce. Visit our site today for finding more about our marketing and printing services in Sacramento.     Republishing Rights: You may republish this article in your website, book, or newsletter as long as you agree to the condition that you leave the article, author’s signature, and all links completely intact and unaltered.  

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